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Tips for postpartum exercise when short on time
Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor to exercise six (or more) weeks postpartum, you may be itching to lace up your sneakers and sweat, with only one thing standing in your way: time. Or rather, lack of time. It’s amazing how the day escapes you when caring for a newborn baby. That, coupled with the fact that you likely haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks (or months) and your baby eats around the clock makes it hard to find time to yourself to shower and eat breakfast let alone exercise. But fitting movement and activity into your day has so many benefits including strengthening back up your core, boosting energy, promoting better sleep, postpartum weight loss, relieving stress, improving mood and potentially preventing postpartum depression. If you are someone who exercised consistently before baby, go easy on yourself. Your life has new challenges and commitments now that you have a baby, and getting right back into the swing of things isn’t easy. You may be able to get back into your old routine after a few months of settling into motherhood, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all when you’re short on time.
In the early months of motherhood, many women find themselves wearing comfortable clothes around the house, perfect for snuggling a new baby…and getting a quick workout in. Your baby doesn’t care if you’ve been wearing yoga pants all day! This way, there’s no need to change your clothes and get motivated to exercise. As soon as your baby is down for a nap or playing happily on a nearby mat, you can clear some floor space to do core work, light weight training, or even a quick yoga video. The internet has a wealth of free exercise videos that range in exercise type and time;this can be a great way to find safe postpartum workouts to do at home.
Exercise bands are inexpensive, portable and useful strength training tools to keep in your living room to do some muscle strengthening workouts without needing much equipment. Hand weights or kettlebells also don’t take up much space and can easily be brought out for a quick living room workout. Involve your baby in workouts by holding a plank (safely!) while she coos up at you from the floor, or dance and lunge around the room while holding her in a baby carrier.
Stroller walks or jogs are a great way to involve your baby – and possibly a friend – so you can both get some outdoor time together. There may be stroller fitness classes or baby and me exercise classes in your area that you can join to combine exercise, time with your baby, and socializing with other new moms. Many gyms offer child care (though babies typically have to be at least 6-12 weeks old) which means you can get a solo workout in while your baby is being cared for nearby.
Whatever you do, be sure to ease back into exercise postpartum safely and slowly, and be kind to your body as you adapt to all of the new changes.
What to Do
- Ease back into postpartum exercise safely and slowly, and only after the clearance of your doctor after six weeks.
- Implement small bursts of exercise into your day, such as lunges, squats, planks, and jumping jacks while your baby naps or plays quietly nearby.
- Turn to the internet for a myriad of free exercise videos to do from home ranging in time and workout style.
- Have workout bands, kettlebells, hand weights or other small workout equipment nearby for portable strength training tools.
- Join a friend for stroller walks or jogs with your baby.
- Seek out baby-and-me exercise classes in your area.
- If you prefer fitness centers, seek out ones that have childcare available once your baby is old enough to attend.